Proverbs 10


It is impossible to give summaries of such chapters as these,

where almost every verse contains a separate subject. Our

common version not being able to exhibit the contents as usual,

simply says, "From this chapter to the five and twentieth are

sundry observations upon moral virtues, and their opposite

vices." In general the wise man states in this chapter the

difference between the wise and the foolish, the righteous and

the wicked, the diligent and the idle. He speaks also of love

and hatred, of the good and the evil tongue, or of the

slanderer and the peace-maker.


Verse 1. The proverbs of Solomon] Some ancient MSS. of the

Vulgate have Proverbiorum liber secundus, "The second book of

the Proverbs." The preceding nine chapters can only be considered

as an introduction, if indeed they may be said to make even a

part, of the proverbs of Solomon, which appear to commence

only at the tenth chapter.

A wise son maketh a glad father] The parallels in this and

several of the succeeding chapters are those which Bishop Lowth

calls the antithetic; when two lines correspond with each other by

an opposition of terms and sentiments; when the second is

contrasted with the first; sometimes in expression, sometimes in

sense only. Accordingly the degrees of antithesis are various;

from an exact contraposition of word to word, through a whole

sentence, down to a general disparity, with something of a

contrariety in the two propositions, as:-

A wise son rejoiceth in his father.

But a foolish son is the grief of his mother.

Where every word has its opposite; for the terms father and

mother are, as the logicians say, relatively opposite.

Verse 2. Treasures of wickedness] Property gained by wicked


Delivered from death] Treasures gained by robbery often bring

their possessors to an untimely death; but those gained by

righteous dealing bring with them no such consequences.

Verse 3. But he casteth away the substance of the wicked.] But

instead of reshaim, the wicked, bogedim,

hypocrites, or perfidious persons, is the reading of twelve or

fourteen of Kennicott's and De Rossi's MSS., and some editions;

but it is not acknowledged by any of the ancient versions.

The righteous have God for their feeder; and because of his

infinite bounty, they can never famish for want of the bread of

life. On the contrary, the wicked are often, in the course of his

providence, deprived of the property of which they make a bad use.

Verse 4. He becometh poor] God has ordered, in the course of his

providence, that he who will not work shall not eat. And he always

blesses the work of the industrious man.

Verse 5. He that gathereth in summer] All the work of the field

should be done in the season suitable to it. If summer and harvest

be neglected, in vain does a man expect the fruits of autumn.

Verse 6. Violence covereth the mouth of the wicked.] As

blessings shall be on the head of the just, so the violence of

the wicked shall cover their face with shame and confusion. Their

own violent dealings shall be visited upon them. The mouth forsoth

of unpitious men wickidnesse covereth.-Old MS. Bible. "The

forehead of the ungodly is past shame, and


Verse 7. The memory of the just is blessed] Or, is a blessing.

But the name of the wicked shall rot.] This is another

antithesis; but there are only two antithetic terms, for memory

and name are synonymous.-Lowth. The very name of the wicked is as

offensive as putrid carrion.

Verse 8. A prating fool shall fall.] This clause is repeated in

the tenth verse. The wise man will receive the commandment: but

the shallow blabbing fool shall be cast down. See Pr 10:10.

Verse 9. He that walketh uprightly] The upright man is always

safe; he has not two characters to support; he goes straight

forward, and is never afraid of detection, because he has never

been influenced by hypocrisy or deceit.

Verse 10. He that winketh with the eye] Instead of the latter

clause, on which see Pr 10:8, the

Septuagint has, οδεελεγχωνμεταπαρρησιαςειρηνοποιει "but he

that reproveth with freedom, maketh peace." This is also the

reading of the Syriac and Arabic. A faithful open reproving of sin

is more likely to promote the peace of society than the passing it

by slightly, or taking no notice of it; for if the wicked turn to

God at the reproof, the law of peace will soon be established in

his heart, and the law of kindness will flow from his tongue.

Verse 11. The mouth of a righteous man is a well of life]

mekor chaiyim, is the vein of lives; an allusion to

the great aorta, which conveys the blood from the heart to every

part of the body. The latter clause of this verse is the same with

that of Pr 10:6.

Verse 12. Hatred stirreth up strifes] It seeks for occasions to

provoke enmity. It delights in broils. On the contrary, love

conciliates; removes aggravations; puts the best construction on

every thing; and pours water, not oil, upon the flame.

Verse 13. A rod is for the back of him] He that can learn, and

will not learn, should be made to learn. The rod is a most

powerful instrument of knowledge. Judiciously applied, there is a

lesson of profound wisdom in every twig.

Verse 14. Wise men lay up knowledge] They keep secret every

thing that has a tendency to disturb domestic or public peace; but

the foolish man blabs all out, and produces much mischief. Think

much, speak little, and always think before you speak. This will

promote your own peace and that of your neighbour.

Verse 15. The rich man's wealth is his strong city] Behold a

mystery in providence; there is not a rich man on earth but

becomes such by means of the poor! Property comes from the labour

of the poor, and the king himself is served of the field. How

unjust, diabolically so, is it to despise or oppress those by

whose labour all property is acquired!

The destruction of the poor is their poverty.] A man in abject

poverty never arises out of this pit. They have no nucleus about

which property may aggregate. The poet spoke well:-

Haud facile emergunt, quorum virtutibus obstat

Res angusta domi.

"They rarely emerge from poverty, whose exertions

are cramped by want at home."

Verse 16. The labour of the righteous] The good man labours that

he may be able to support life; this is his first object: and then

to have something to divide with the poor; this is his next


The fruit of the wicked to sin.] This man lives to eat and

drink, and his property he spends in riot and excess. God's

blessings are cursed to him.

Verse 17. He is in the way of life] The truly religious man

accumulates knowledge that he may the better know how to live to

God, and do most good among men.

Verse 18. He that hideth] This is a common case. How many, when

full of resentment, and deadly hatred, meditating revenge and

cruelty, and sometimes even murder, have pretended that they

thought nothing of the injury they had sustained; had passed by

the insult, &c.! Thus lying lips covered the malevolence of a

wicked heart.

Verse 19. In the multitude of words] It is impossible to speak

much, and yet speak nothing but truth; and injure no man's

character in the mean while.

Verse 20. The heart of the wicked is little worth] kimat,

is like little or nothing; or is like dross, while the tongue of

the just is like silver. A sinner's heart is worth nothing, and is

good for nothing; and yet because it is his most hidden part, he

vaunts of its honesty, goodness, &c.! Yes, yes; it is very honest

and good, only the devil is in it! that is all.

Verse 22. The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich] Whatever we

receive in the way of providence, has God's blessing in it, and

will do us good. Cares, troubles, and difficulties come with all

property not acquired in this way; but God's blessing gives simple

enjoyment, and levies no tax upon the comfort.

Verse 23. It is a sport to a fool to do mischief] What a

millstone weight of iniquity hangs about the necks of most of the

jesters, facetious and witty people! "How many lies do they tell

in jest, to go to the devil in earnest!"

Verse 24. The fear of the wicked] The wicked is full of fears

and alarms; and all that he has dreaded and more than he has

dreaded, shall come upon him. The righteous is always desiring

more of the salvation of God, and God will exceed even his utmost


Verse 25. As the whirlwind passeth] As tornadoes that sweep

every thing away before them; so shall the wrath of God sweep away

the wicked; it shall leave him neither branch nor root. But the

righteous, being built on the eternal foundation, yesod

olam, shall never be shaken.

Verse 26. As vinegar to the teeth] The acid softening and

dissolving the alkali of the bone, so as to impair their texture,

and render them incapable of masticating; and as smoke affects the

eyes, irritating their tender vessels, so as to give pain and

prevent distinct vision; so the sluggard, the lounging, thriftless

messenger, who never returns in time with the desired answer.

Verse 28. The expectation of the wicked shall perish.] A wicked

man is always imposing on himself by the hope of God's mercy and

final happiness; and he continues hoping, till he dies without

receiving that mercy which alone would entitle him to that glory.

Verse 29. The way of the Lord is strength] In the path of

obedience the upright man ever finds his strength renewed; the

more he labours the stronger he grows. The same sentiment as that

in Isa 40:31.

Verse 30. The righteous shall never be removed] Because he is

built on the eternal foundation. See on Pr 10:25.

Verse 31. The froward tongue shall be cut out.] This probably

alludes to the punishment of cutting out the tongue for blasphemy,

treasonable speeches, profane swearing, or such like. The tunge of

schrewis schal perishen.-Old MS. Bible. Were the tongue of every

shrew or scold to be extracted, we should soon have much less

noise in the world.

Verse 32. The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable] And

what they believe to be most pleasing and most profitable, that

they speak, but the wicked man knows as well what is perverse, and

that he speaketh forth. As the love of God is not in his heart, so

the law of kindness is not on his lips.

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